47 - Karyn C
On gender identity and expression…
“I've always known that I'm a girl. I didn't have any problems with that, but my problem was with being lesbian. So, I'm gay. ‘Why do I like girls? Other girls like boys… Why am I different?’ I couldn't understand that. I knew I wasn’t the kind of girl that would talk about boys. My friends would say, ‘Oh, that boy is cute… oh my goodness! That boy is handsome…’ and I’d be thinking, ‘What?! Are you crazy?! I mean, he’s nice, but no!’”
On her coming out experience…
“Oh gosh, I think it was 25. I told my parents and they didn’t like that. My parents said, ‘No… you can't say anything. This needs to stay a secret.’ My mom, yeah… She just rejected it. She got really upset. She said I needed to go to therapy. And my father just said, ‘No you can't be. You can't be a lesbian. No…You can’t bring this in the family. That's something you can do outside, but not in the family.’ And I was like, ‘Okay I’ll get out, but this is who I am…I am gay, and on my Facebook I put I'm gay, I'm also deaf, Asian, and a librarian… all these things. Yeah. So why is gay a problem? I am who I am… I am enough.
Frustrations within our community…
“That we have to check boxes, and that we can only check one box... we're limited that way. No one fits one box perfectly… And once you check your box, you have to be lesbian enough, or trans enough or bi enough… and other people decide, ‘Oh no, no, no… she can't be straight or lesbian…’ because she doesn’t have all the “qualifications” for that box.
I think the problem is also that we belong to different letters of LGBT and therefore sometimes try to segregate ourselves according to our single letter… it's crazy that we can't all just come together and support all our brothers and sisters in all the letters. we are all LGBTQ+… We need to all come together under one accepting umbrella.
Favorite parts about the community…
“I like being who I am. I don’t have to worry and think, ‘I can't go here because these people… or those people might judge me and harass me. They know and accept I'm a lesbian. So it's nice that others understand and support me.”
Advice to your younger self? Advice to those who feel like they can’t come out, or don’t have a community to be a part of?
“To younger me… I would tell myself, ‘You're fine… you're beautiful… you're wonderful just the way you are. Why do you worry? What are you worried about? Other people? What catastrophic thing are they going to say? No… Don't worry about other people, and just be completely happy with whom you are. And compete only with yourself.
To others… I think I would say the same thing, too. After people know that I'm gay, there’s no more fear… because I'm open, I'm out. I don't have to hide. I don't have to be afraid, or be false. I was able to think about, other stuff, like, ‘OK, so I'm deaf. Sometimes people don't understand that.’ And then later on they're like, ‘Oh wait, wait… You can speak?’ They get confused sometimes… I'm Asian. That I can't hide. I'm proud to be Asian. So, why shouldn't I be proud to be a lesbian, too?...and who cares what other people say, just feel free to come out… if everybody came out… ‘You're a man you're a woman’…. Somebody is black or white or whatever labels… knock it down. Being out also creates knowledge and understanding. People can’t know and understand unless you share. And You can’t be your complete self and be accepted unless you accept and share yourself.’”
What in your life are you most proud of?
“I was raised in an abusive home. I'm not abusive to anybody else. I live my life with love and peace and I try to help everybody. That's what I'm proud of…”
With the state of the nation and the world that it is currently in, if you had the power to change one thing what would it be?
“I would make people open minded and give them more compassion. If you can't understand other people's viewpoints, other perspectives, how can you accept? How can you love?”